It’s time to flash back seven years to 2012, an era of huge choruses, thumping dance beats and an endless supply of sci-fi influenced music videos. 2012’s charms were endless, but here are fifty of the absolute best singles.
To be eligible for this top fifty list, songs must have had a Korean release as a title or promotional track between Jan. 1st and Dec. 31st, 2012.
PART ONE: Songs 50-41
40. Nu’est – Face
Nu’est came strong right out of the gate with this incredible debut. Pairing symphonic elements with a dancefloor pulse, the central hook is so memorable that even a too-trendy dubstep breakdown can’t sabotage the song’s incredible effect.
39. BoA – The Shadow
The strongest dance single she’s released this decade, and a criminally underrated entry in her discography. Its nearly constant stream of rhythmic vocal delivery transforms its otherwise steady beat and feels like Korea’s answer to Janet Jackson.
38. Orange Caramel – Lipstick
Orange Caramel’s first classic single, and a track that distills all their charms into a deliriously addictive piece of smart electro pop. It’s a big eye wink of a pop song, constantly egging you on with its multitude of perfectly crafted hooks.
37. Xia Junsu – Tarantallegra (ft. Flowsik)
Tarantallegra is unlike any other K-pop song out there, forging its intense dance beat from little more than thundering drums and symphonic flourishes. Junsu creeps over the top with an arresting performance that merges staccato delivery with a hypnotic incantation of a chorus.
36. f(x) – Electric Shock
In many ways, Electric Shock is the pinnacle of a certain f(x) sound. The beat is immense, the many melodic turns are unexpected, and the hook hits like a sledgehammer.
35. Sistar – Alone
The moment Sistar grew up, offering a sleeker, sexier sound that cast them in a completely different light. The breathy, synth-dripped opening remains one of 2012’s most iconic moments.
34. Nine Muses – Ticket
With the most lethally catchy hook in their arsenal, Ticket trades on a frantic, synth-assisted melody that builds to constant, euphoric crescendos.
33. 100% – Bad Boy
A flawless debut, Bad Boy pulses with a heavy electronic throb that only grows stronger as the track bursts into its enormous, go-for-broke chorus. Its tense instrumental creates a powerful sense of movement throughout.
32. TVXQ – Humanoids
A thundering kick of guitar-fueled beats, Humanoids took the familiar SMP sound of past TVXQ tracks and melded it with the hard-hitting dancefloor appeal of 2012. Its layered chorus may be simple, but draws on the duo’s inimitable vocals to impressive effect.
31. Gain – Bloom
Driven by incessant rhythm guitar, Bloom merged Gain’s boundary-breaking style with the best pop melody of her solo career. The song’s bright, euphoric chorus takes no prisoners, blending disco sensibilities with its anthemic refrain for a truly striking and iconic release.
NEXT: NUMBERS 30-21
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Geeze, this list is bringing me back to nostalgia heaven. Boy groups were unafraid of making an unabashedly dance floor filling song. Give me that groove and energy! Make me wanna get up and dance! Nowadays, kpop boy groups are too self serious and need to have this whole back story along with a downbeat dirge-like energy.
P.S. your number 1 will definitely be The Chaser, huh? 🙂
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I support groove and energy 500%!
I won’t directly reveal my number one besides saying that it’s probably the easiest guess anyone could make 😉
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A-ha! There’s “Lipstick,” which – for me – is the OC crown jewel. But you definitely know how I feel about swing in kpop. “Alone,” “Ticket,” “Electric Shock,” and “Bad Boy” would also all be on my list, which I am growing increasingly tempted to make.
“Face” is such a good, (amazingly) catchy song, but that dubstep breakdown gets alarmingly close to killing it for me. At least it’s only about 20 seconds before vocals and an actual beat bring it back into decent music land, but ohhhh boy do I fast forward through them. This is true for honestly every dubstep breakdown shoehorned into the bridge; that particular trend was absolutely terrible. At least with trop house, I know when it’s coming. The dreaded dubstep breakdown, on the other hand, looms over entirely unrelated and otherwise good pop songs, ready to ruin middle 8s everywhere with its despicable halftime lurch.
I remember hating the dubstep influence back then too. Thankfully, it rarely drove the entire song. It just came in randomly to screw everything up for a few seconds… sort of like the dreaded trap breakdown nowadays. I’d take dubstep over trap any day, though!
Love Ticket. A bit disappointed ANYMORE isn’t in your top 50 since that’s my favourite K-Pop song of 2012.
Expecting to see History and Pandora coming up.
Love Anymore! God, it was just such a good year…
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